June 4th this year marked the 40th anniversary of the now legendary Sex Pistols gig at Manchester's Lesser Free Trade. To celebrate the anniversary of that seminal punk catalyst, and the 30th year since its original release, Alex Cox's doomed love biopic Sid & Nancy returns to UK cinemas on August 5th, thanks to StudioCanal and the Independent Cinema Office, in a newly restored form overseen by the film's now revered cinematographer Roger Deakins.

The unromanticised vision of immature love, mutual destruction and untimely death in Sid & Nancy surprised many upon its original release by figuring punk fury within a tender and poetic tragedy, and a far from positive representation of Vicious' signature apathy, contempt and cynicism. Opening on a catatonic Sid Vicious (Gary Oldman) immediately after Nancy Spungen's (Chloe Webb) demise in their squalid hotel room, Cox doubles back to trace the route of the inevitable death spiral. From their first shambolic coupling, downward through the break-up of the Sex Pistols and Vicious' failed solo excursion in America, Sid and Nancy's co-dependant collapse is documented in both gritty realism and stunning surreality.

While the performances by Oldman and Webb are rightfully still celebrated and maintain their believability and ability to simultaneously move and amuse, the Deakins approved colour correction and Blu-ray sharpness in this restoration highlight Sid & Nancy's less frequently lauded visual strengths. With new vividness and clarity in the restoration, the surprisingly measured but energetic cinematography – a wonderful mix of lively handheld vérité and formal, dreamlike stylisation – and meticulously detailed production design shines brighter than before. Harlequin shocks of hair, the vibrant noise of graffiti and the rainbow of London market stalls now jump out of what previously seemed more weighted to the equally well restored bloodless, pallid tones of the nihilistic void the film drives towards. This new contrast certainly enhances the descent into the base depravity and murky haze of the cursed couple's last days in the low-rent end of the Chelsea Hotel.

The DVD and Blu-ray feature new interviews with Deakins, Cox and also The Roxy DJ and punk documentarian Don Letts. These engaging chats are not particularly incisive or revealing, loosely mixing reflections on seventies punk with making-of tidbits, but welcome additions. What this version sorely lacks is any of the contemporaneous interviews with Sid, Nancy, Malcolm McLaren or John Lydon, making-of documentary England's Glory, and brilliant cast, crew and historian commentary, which all featured on the Criterion DVD release - now sadly out of print. This fine restoration, though, is the best the film has ever looked, making it still a good purchase.

Certainly worth seeing now if you haven't before, the new restoration is as good a reason as any to catch it again, particularly in the cinema. The film has lost no power to its punch over time, surviving where lesser punk cinema has fallen due to desperate modishness and faux ferocity. Compassionate in its portrayal of the often deeply unlikable couple, conveying their childlike sensitivity underneath all the scenester sturm und drang, Sid & Nancy works brilliantly as a plaintive tragedy, but also an indictment of the terminal nature of hollow punk. In his book X Films: True Confessions of a Radical Filmmaker, Cox called Spungen and Vicious “soldout traitors” to the true spirit of the movement and music. Unconcerned with either myth-making or truth-telling, Cox doesn't shy away from engaging with punk's complicated legacy. A legacy that, 30 years after its release, Sid & Nancy is now surely a significant part of.

Sid & Nancy returns to cinemas on August 5th, is available on EST on August 22nd, and the new DVD/Blu-ray is available on August 29th.